Tag Archives: civilization

Updates 2/15/17

“Have I awakened
Deep inside some madman’s dream?
This is not my country
This is not what I believe
Have I awakened
Deep inside some madman’s dream?
I can barely recognize
The place this used to be”

Assemblage 23 – Madman’s Dream

Good evening folks!

Well, it is evening here anyways. I cannot speak to whatever part of the world you may be reading this from. I just wanted to post a (hopefully) quick update blog, so you all can stay in the loop and read about all the exciting things I am working on.

Plus I needed another filler post here as I work to get another post with a little more substance ready…

So here I am, letting you know I haven’t forgotten about you all.

Okay, so here are some updates;

  1. I am coming up on the halfway mark on another manuscript. That’s approximately 35 -40k words for those of you playing the home game. I am working away on a cyberpunk/cybershaman type novel, and I have to say it has really been fun to write so far. I get to play with some pretty interesting topics; such as spirituality, sustainability, and how all that relates to technology. I also really enjoy speculating about what the world might look like in the not-so-distant future.
  2. I have announced it on Facebook, but I will relay that here as well. I have been accepted to write for Paganbloggers.com. Currently I expect that to start moving sometime in March, and I am really excited about this new opportunity. In addition, they are running an Indiegogo to help fund this new site for pagans, by pagans. You can check that out here!
  3. I have finished up editing the fifth book in the Elder Blood Saga. The final book in the series!  I will be getting the artwork for that started in the near future.
  4. I continue to do my best to grow and expand the shop! Have you checked out The White Wolf yet? The link is over there —> It is the home for my writing, crafting, and other work.
  5. Currently, I plan to start a 2+ year shamanic intensive in March. It seems to be the next step in my spiritual journey, and I am anxious/excited to take that next step.

I think that pretty much covers what is going on with me. There is certainly a lot going on in the world, and I’ve been doing my best to keep up with it all. I post a fair bit about many things over on my personal Facebook; not limited to science, spirituality, politics, the environment.. You know a lot of the things I talk about here.

I don’t want to go into that all too deeply here, especially the political bit. Primarily, this is not a political blog. I will delve into that from time to time of course, as it intersects with a lot of what I do talk about here. I think I could even make a fair argument that politics is part of the whole Anthropology thing, as it is concerned with humans; and politics is part of how humans govern one another. There is certainly a case to be made there, as well as topics such as building a sustainable civilization, religious freedoms, and the environment. Plus add the fact that I am sci-fi writer, so on occasion, politics does come up.

There is a lot to say on that front to be sure. The first month or so of the new administration in the US has been… overwhelming. I have been trying my best to keep up, but it seems like every hour something new is breaking. It is also fair to say that many of the things that are coming out of Washington trouble me deeply, and run contrary to many of my views. It just creates this baseline anxiety for me. I’m worried for myself, and my friends and family. Many of them fall into the “marginal” categories, and their rights will be the first to be questioned.

Needless to say, I am part of the resistance. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, and I have serious questions for both parties. Another Republican in charge wouldn’t have bothered me as much as #45. I never thought I’d wish for Bush Jr back. But truly, the administration of #45 scares me.

But, I am both an optimist and a realist. I am an optimist because I believe that humans have so much potential. I am a realist because I realize the amount of work that it will take to get there. That is why I am trying to stay positive about all this, and inspiring and hopeful as I can. This does not means I don’t think the days ahead aren’t dark.

However #45 is a reaction to 8 years of Obama, and vI like to think that the counterreaction to this administration will be fierce; and the further it tries to push things, the more fierce that counterreaction will be. I also think we will have the opportunity to build a better world on the far side. A more global, interconnected, and sustainable world.

I like this Positive Reframe a fair bit.

But that doesn’t mean there is a lot of hard work ahead of us, and I won’t lie to you and say that work will be all unicorns and rainbows either. People are going to suffer under #45, good people. My people, and I will stand with them.

If you feel called to resist, do so. I will stand for our environment, for science, for my spirituality, and for minorities of all stripes. I don’t know at the current time how far this will go, but I will stand by my values all the same.

Here is a piece I like from Scientific American about resisting.

I particularly like this bit;

“His writings, which have been translated into dozens of languages and are available on the internet, describe a wide variety of tactics: worker strikes, student strikes, mass petitions, underground newspapers, skywriting, display of flags and banners, boycotts of goods, boycotts of sporting events, refusal to pay rent, withdrawal of bank savings, fasts, mock trials, occupation of government buildings, marches, motorcades, teach-ins, pray-ins, ostracism of collaborators, publication of names of collaborators, seeking imprisonment, formation of parallel government and mass disrobing.

Many of Sharp’s methods involve mockery, which the !Kung and other hunter-gatherer groups also employ against the swell-headed.”

Yes, I realize not all these actions are legal. It will be up to each and everyone of us to decide where our “Sacred Cows” are, and what we are willing to risk.

That said, by all means protest. March, rally, strike if you have to. Take a tip from the Natives at Standing Rock, and pray as well as protest. Write, make memes, share reputable news sources, learn the facts, make memes… Do whatever calls to you, and do it.

And hopefully the next world awaits…

 “Build me a future,
Splendid and graceful.
Make it better by design.
Perfected strategies, applied technologies.
A brighter future for a darker age.”

Vnv Nation – Streamline

 

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Animism and Capitalism Part 2

Okay, so this one might be more capitalism than animism…

Recently, as I found myself browsing the internet and I came across a link from Rhyd Wildermuth and found myself following it. What I came across was rather thought provoking, and I felt it deserved a place in the second part of this series.

I encourage you to read the original context of course, as here I will be only exploring snippets that really resonated with some of my own thoughts. It began with a post by a Tumblr user on the Gods & Radicals Tumbler. While I will not recap all that they said; I do want to take a brief couple of excerpts;

But the concept that some thinkers seem to promote as the solution, that we should turn our backs on technology, follow an anarcho-primitivist route, is throwing the baby out with the bathwater….

Seeing the advances of science & technology as ills to be fought, with no sense of the vast improvements they have made to humanity’s condition & quality of life … is an incredibly blinkered position to take. If we can’t advocate for radical change without throwing vast numbers of the population under the bus, how are we in any way improving on what’s gone before?”

Some excellent points are raised by the OP, and I agree generally with the points raised. I have myself come across some of the thinkers the OP is talking about, and I am not sold on their solutions either. I too agree with the final line of the OP, as I in no way can advocate, nor stand by any person that does, any solution that has tied with it a massive death toll (whether human life or non-human). Oftentimes, such causalities are counted among the disabled, the sick, or any one else that may be dependent on modern medicine or technology to survive. I cannot stand by such so-called “solutions.”

Now I want to talk a bit about the response. Rhyd starts first by talking about a subject that I have tiptoed around recently, mostly because I am not all that familiar with the material (something I hope to change), and partially because what I have been exposed to I am just not sold on;

Where I differ with them is actually on the matter of the urban and ‘civilisation.’ It’s similar to my critique of John Michael Greer’s assertion that Industrialisation is the primary ill of society (rather than Capital), or of Deep Green Resistance’s anti-urban (and anti-trans/anti-queer) ideology. The urban (and what springs from it, including technology) can’t be interrogated monolithically, and besides, most of the brilliant things humans do come from our collaboration with each other.

I want to be clear on this point, I by no means accept the idea that “civilization” or industrialization are the primary/chief ills of society. To be fair, they aren’t perfect of course. Plenty of industries are big polluters of both our air and water, and civilization certainly doesn’t get a pass in this regard.

I think Rhyd is right on the mark in this regard, in that these things cannot be looked at as if they were monolithic. Civilization and industry are very complex entities, and even talking about them in the singular is perhaps erroneous. There are civilizations spread across the globe, as there a great plurality of industries. Some are more culpable than others in our current problems than are others, but none are perfect. Rhyd adds more to this idea by saying;

Conversely, though, because technology and “The Science” is seen as monolithic, we find ourselves often being told we need to accept innovations wholesale, without interrogating their social or environmental consequences. Thus, hydraulic fracturing or genetically modified organisms are packaged as the same Technology as the polio vaccine or even sewage treatment. This argument asserts that we must accept it all or reject it all, which is patently ridiculous.

The point he makes about not interrogating the consequences is an important one, and one I fully agree with. I once heard it explained beautifully by a dwarf in a game called Arcanum;

“ “When humans first see some new technology, their first thought is often ‘what can I use this for?’; when they should ask ‘what is the cost of its use?” ”

I have my the point before on this blog that it is not so much a matter that we do some of these things (with that caveat that we consider the consequences), but more of matter of how we do these things. It is not so much a matter that we have things such as electricity, computers, and cars, but more of the fact that how we fuel and produce these things is polluting the planet. Rhyd hits on this idea a little bit himself;

Conversely, though, because technology and “The Science” is seen as monolithic, we find ourselves often being told we need to accept innovations wholesale, without interrogating their social or environmental consequences. Thus, hydraulic fracturing or genetically modified organisms are packaged as the same Technology as the polio vaccine or even sewage treatment. This argument asserts that we must accept it all or reject it all, which is patently ridiculous.

And then there is that bit about Capital. Capitalism to me is the idea that everything; from humans, to resources, can be given a monetary value; traded, exchanged, extracted, and exploited for profit. To aquire and retain as much capital as possible, because especially in America, capital/money is power, political, cultural, as well as social. It is a really complex set of ideas, that has a nasty habit of creeping into everything. I am sure better and more versed minds have said more on this topic.

There is one last quote from Rhyd I want to explore;

The third complication with technology, and one of the ways I resonate with Anarcho-Primitivism, is that technology/science/progress are presented as cures for the problems caused by Capital. You’re certainly aware of “Green Capitalism” and other such narratives which suggest that we need not change the core engine behind our social relations (to each other and to the earth) but only invest more money into new technologies which will make the machine run ‘cleaner.’ John Gray calls that the ‘cult of progress,’ and I would have to agree. ” – Rhyd

I have said before that we have the technological capacity to make the machine run “cleaner”, and in fact retrofit/rebuild the machine of technology and industry to such a degree that they only resemble the machines of today in passing. Yes, we do need more investment in technology to get us away from fossil fuels but.. I have never just advocated that we need to change the machine, but our relations with it as well. Individual solutions as trumpeted by green capitalism will never solve the problem. Technology alone will not solve the problems either. Yes, we need to build a better machine, but we also need to rethink and rebuild our relations with it as well.

In summary, I think science and technology are part of the solution, but only one part.

The other part involves a change in ourselves, our relations, and societies. A different way of doing things.

In the next part of this series, I want to explore the essay by David Graeber called “On Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit”; which I was exposed to thanks to Rhyd’s response.

So much more to chew on.

Thanks for reading!

References;

Gods and Radicals Tumblr